ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — An Office of Human Rights report details ugly allegations against long-time Howard County Sheriff James Fitzgerald.
The lieutenant who blew the whistle says Fitzgerald “has become the poster child for bigotry, bullying, and temper tantrums. The venom that spews from this man’s mouth is abhorrent.”
Fitzgerald has not responded to WJZ‘s repeated calls for comment and didn’t respond when we went to his office.
Through representatives, Fitzgerald says he strongly disagrees with the report, telling investigators he’s just a loud New Yorker and has increased diversity.
Among the disturbing allegations are slurs against employees “…female, black, gay, and Jewish.” That also includes anti-Semitic remarks against former County Executive Ken Ulman.
“It is absolutely unacceptable to have anybody in power behaving this way, and he needs to go,” said Ulman.
The report says Sheriff Fitzgerald used the n-word repeatedly and said African American deputies are not too smart, but they get the job done.
The report quotes witnesses saying Fitzgerald told one African American “There’s no watermelon there for you!”
“I don’t see how anyone can serve with these sorts of allegations,” said County Council President Calvin Ball.
The report says the sheriff is “universally described as vindictive, arrogant, narcissistic, rude, belligerent, nasty, and intimidating,” and “he is only interested in his own power and likes to abuse it.”
There’s little anyone can do to force Sheriff Fitzgerald to leave–he’s elected–and unless he’s convicted of a crime, he decides whether to stay or go.